Ok so in order to create, you first need to quiet your inner critic. We all have one basically telling us that we don't know what we're doing, our work isn't worth a damn and we should crawl under the covers for eternity. If you can't get out from under this kind of artistic resistance, you won't ever create.
Creativity isn't highly correlated to genetics. And the faster that we can train ourselves to look at creativity like a strength rather than a trait, the sooner we can get on with the business of creating.
Adopting a growth mindset will be extremely helpful in this endeavor. We need to get out of the fixed thoughts such as I suck at this, I'm not artistic, I don't have a creative bone in my body, she's so talented at art etc. etc. The way to become more creative is just like anything else, it takes practice. Mastering the piano takes practice, mastering composition, lighting and tech tools takes practice, too. You didn't come out of the womb knowing what ISO, aperture, depth of field meant,
So with every exercise, tell yourself that you are growing creative strengths in your brain. If a particular exercise doesn't turn out the way you wish it had, reflect on what alternative strategies you could use to make it better. Ask yourself what could you learn from your mistake? What growth is available to you?
Fixed Mindset: Intelligence is static; tendency to avoid challenges, give up easily; see
Growth Mindset: Malleable, curious, nurture, learning. Intelligence can be developed; tendency to embrace challenges; persists in the face of setbacks; sees
Broaden and Build
Broaden and Build: Positive emotions often initiate a cycle of more positive emotions. Specifically, positive emotions can facilitate the development of skills, networks, resources, and capacities, which in turn promote wellbeing and fulfillment. This theory was formulated by Barbara Frederickson.
Negative emotions narrow and focus us into specific actions. Positive emotions broaden and build. We can generate more ideas, be more in creative flow. So if you go into berating yourself for not producing work that you like better, know that it's not only cruel, but also counter-productive. Being in a positive state helps you generate more ideas, produce more. Being in a negative state keeps you really narrow. Creativity needs expansive space in which to flourish - so give it the positive nutrients it needs to grow.
Fear . . . . . . . . . . . .escape
Anger . . . . . . . . . . .attack
Disgust . . . . . . . . . .expel
Guilt . . . . . . . . . . . .make amends
Shame . . . . . . . . . disappear
Sadness . . . . . . . . withdraw
Contentment . . . . . inaction
Joy . . . . . . . . . . . . .free/play
Affection . . . . . . . . .approach
Interest . . . . . . . . . .explore
Contentment . . . . . savor
Love . . . . . . . . . . . all of the above
As one of my favorite photographers says, the key to a well lived life is to "Get comfortable being uncomfortable" - Chase Jarvis
Growth isn't usually a walk in the park. It can be painful, frustrating, maddening until you get to the other side. This is a photo of me on a ropes course in Lake Tahoe. I was leading this other woman across the high wire - nothing to hold onto - we were just shimmying across this very bouncy bridge. She was terrified. I was not only guiding her but also trying to calm her down. I had unsuccessfully tried to do a ropes course when I was 16 years old. I remember missing the trapeze on the high log jump. I remember flying off of this two-man exercise within minutes of the grueling climb up. I remember walking away feeling like I had barely survived the day. 20 years later, I was ready to do better. I was ready to try different strategies, to not let my mind get the best of me and to lead the way. It took 20 years, but this was a redemptive ropes course for me. This was me willing to be comfortable with my discomfort. And it paid off. I can say that my greatest growth had never come from the things that came
Curiosity is the antidote to fixed mindset and judgments
Definition of Curious: recognizing, embracing, and seeking out knowledge and new experiences.
Curiosity is highly correlated with life satisfaction.
If you're curious you'll have higher task persistence, you won't give up. Being curious is associated with higher levels of well-being.
If you're having trouble shifting into curiosity after a negative event, ask yourself: How can I learn, how can I grow? How can I get more curious about this situation rather than judgmental? Curiosity results in exploration. If you explore your environment more, you discover more. From that discovery, you get more positive emotions. Curiosity results in upward spirals resulting in exploration, discovery, pleasure, repetition, mastery, new skills, confidence, self-esteem, sense of security, more exploration. That's quite a positive feedback loop!
How fascinating ...
Get into the fascination habit. When something good or bad happens to you, before you curse, go into judgment or sink into
People who have the strength of creativity are curious. When the question is how can I
1) Can you see the beauty in the ordinary (aka The Visual Feast)?
Take a non-literal photo of something completely ordinary in your house. Something you would never give a second glance to as artistic inspiration. Get up close. Make it abstract. Take a picture of its reflection or its shadow. Or take something completely literal and translate it in a way that shows it in its most gorgeous glory. Simple lines. A punch of color. Lovely symmetry. Peeling paint. Rusted parts. Get curious, then find the beauty in the ordinary.
2) Take risks
Growth takes risks. Embarking on this life feast is taking a risk. It's taking photos of trash receptacles rather than mountain vistas. It's looking closer, leaning in and not going for the easy landscape.
Here are a few places where I've found beauty in the